What was your first reaction to the news that the Stooges will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010?
Well, very surprised. I didn’t think I’d ever see the inside of that neighborhood actually. Probably because the group had a very long outsider history, going back way back before there was ever a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It took us a lot longer to get some sort of general acceptance than probably most people.
You’ve been eligible for about 15 years or so.
We’ve been rejected seven times and we would have set a record I think if it happened again. We would have been the record holders I think. The first few times I’d always hear we got nominated about a month after it happened. Then the lag time started decreasing until it’d be the day after, all these people calling me to say “congratulations.” It sort of became one of those things like Charlie Brown and the football. And it’s always Lucy’s idea. I’d run for the damn thing. But somebody every year was nominating us and then it was like, “OK, Stooges, come on, just run and kick the ball.” Whoops.
After I got over my sort of “Really? — Yeah really!” I had about two hours of a strong emotional reaction. The same sort I started getting when our group reformed and we started going out and starting playing positive gigs for five, eight, ten thousand people. I don’t know what sort of thoughts go into that — I don’t know if it’s vindication or what. But I went through a couple hours of that and then I kind of scratched my head and thought, “Am I still cool? Or is that over now?” And I’m only successful. But there is the whole angle. There are all these great, great musicians. Everyone I’ve looked up to was included in that. It’s a game and then when all these greats are included and you’re not, it sort of says “You’re not …whatever.” And then when you are included it’s like, “Hey! You’re all right. You made something good. You made some good stuff.” So I think all that is just very human.
How do you think Ron Asheton, who we lost earlier this year, would feel about it?
It would have meant a lot of him, the Hall of Fame. He waited longer for his success than I did. More than anyone in the group, he was a very stalwart Michigan boy. He was a regular guy and he enjoyed the extent to which some regular folks were getting to know him and his music. And I know his brother too, Scott. I think the last time we got ix-nayed they were telling me, “Oh, we don’t give a shit. We don’t care.” But they do. And I do.
What was it like performing for Madonna two years ago at the induction ceremony?
That was a tough sell with the brothers. More Ron. Ron was like, “What?” I was like, “Listen man, look, if nothing else, 15 percent of the people who see that performance are going to think we got inducted.” ‘Cause they don’t really follow music. Sure enough, on the plane on the way home, one of the stewardesses congratulated me. But mainly I thought it was a chance to play in case we didn’t get in ourselves. It also occurred to me that it was a chance to show some of the people that do that thing that we don’t have horns. We’re not going to bite you.
It’s strange to visualize you guys wearing tuxedos and being applauded by the entire industry.
Do they wear tuxedos?
Some people do.
I don’t think that’s going to happen. I’ve got one. I can probably drag it out. I’ve got these things. I’m at the time of life where people sort of kick my up by the collar and exhibit me on various occasions. And when they do they have to give me clothes and then I keep the clothes. So I have a very nice Dior tux.